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The International Critical Commentary (ICC): Amos and Hosea

by W. R. Harper

Bibliographic information

TitleThe International Critical Commentary (ICC): Amos and Hosea
AuthorW. R. Harper
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2005



It cannot be said that the Twelve Prophets lack, either in the comprehensive relation which they sustain to the entire history of Hebrew life and thought, in the interest of the problems which they suggest, or in the almost infinite variety of these problems. In every field of study, the textual, the literary, the historical, the archaeological, and the theological, they furnish facts and suggest questions than which few others, perhaps, possess greater significance.

One need only mention, by way of Amos in the development of Hebrew thought, the problems of criticism and interpretation which are suggested by the early chapters of Hosea, the text and historical distribution of the chapters now joined together under the name of Micah, the complexity of the data included in the several portions of Zechariah, not to speak of the fragmentary character of Obadiah, the peculiar phenomena presented in Jonah, and many other equally puzzling but significant aspects of literary and theological inquiry.

These facts and problems connect themselves with every important phase of the Old Testament activity between 900 B. C. and 300 B. C., in other words, with the entire creative period.

The books which occupy our attention in this first volume go well together, not only because one follows the other chronologically, but also because one supplements the other logically, the two presenting a totality of expression in the light of which each receives a clearer interpretation. It seemed necessary to take up, in connection with these first two of the immortal Twelve, many questions that concern just as closely the others.
Especially was the force of this point felt in the Introduction; for an introduction to Amos and Hosea is really an introduction to Prophecy.

Nowhere is it more necessary to distinguish sharply between the actual words of an author and those that have been added by later writers than in the case of Amos and Hosea. The history of the Messianic idea, in whatever sense we employ that term, is fundamentally involved in this distinction. Care has been taken, therefore, to keep separate the quite considerable proportion of material (ascribed by tradition to these authors)
which may confidently be treated as of later origin. This in the case of Amos is about one-fifth of the whole, and in the case
of Hosea about one-fourth.

About the Author 

W. R. Harper ---

William Rainey Harper (July 26, 1856 - January 10, 1906) A child-prodege, born at New Concord, Ohio, to Scotch-Irish parents, Harper finished high school at age ten, graduated from college four years latter and went on to become a noted academic who introduced German system of education to US institutions of higher learning. He helped to organize the University of Chicago and served as its first President. Harper's favorite field of study was Biblical Hebrew where he made a major contribution as an educator. Throughout his academic life (cut by death at the early age of 49), Harper wrote numerous texts.

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